Summary and book reviews of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

by Stephen King

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
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  • First Published:
    Mar 1999, 219 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2000, 272 pages

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Book Summary

A fairy tale grimmer than Grimm, but aglow with a girl's indomitable spirit.

What if the woods were full of them? And of course they were, the woods were full of everything you didn't like, everything you were afraid of and instinctively loathed, everything that tried to overwhelm you with nasty, no-brain panic.

The brochure promised a "moderate-to-difficult" six-mile hike on the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail, where nine-year-old Trisha McFarland was to spend Saturday with her older brother, Pete, and her recently divorced mother. When she wanders off to escape their constant bickering, then tries to catch up by attempting a shortcut through the woods, Trisha strays deeper into a wilderness full of peril and terror. Especially when night falls.

Trisha has only her wits for navigation, only her ingenuity as a defense against the elements, only her courage and faith to withstand her mounting fear. For solace she tunes her Walkman to broadcasts of Boston Red Sox games and the gritty performances of her hero, number 36, relief pitcher Tom Gordon. And when her radio's reception begins to fade, Trisha imagines that Tom Gordon is with her -- her key to surviving an enemy known only by the slaughtered animals and mangled trees in its wake.

A classic story that engages our emotions at the most primal level, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon explores our deep dread of the unknown and the extent to which faith can conquer it. It is a fairy tale grimmer than Grimm, but aglow with a girl's indomitable spirit.

Pregame

The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered this when she was nine years old. At ten o'clock on a morning in early June she was sitting in the back seat of her mother's Dodge Caravan, wearing her blue Red Sox batting practice jersey (the one with 36 GORDON on the back) and playing with Mona, her doll. At ten thirty she was lost in the woods. By eleven she was trying not to be terrified, trying not to let herself think, This is serious, this is very serious. Trying not to think that sometimes when people got lost in the woods they got seriously hurt. Sometimes they died.

All because I needed to pee, she thought...except she hadn't needed to pee all that badly, and in any case she could have asked Mom and Pete to wait up the trail a minute while she went behind a tree. They were fighting again, gosh what a surprise that was, and that was why she had dropped behind a little bit, and without saying anything. That was ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

...[R]eading the novel produces...satisfying moments of feverish terror....As the narrator puts it: "The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. She knew that now. She was only 9, but she knew it, and she thought she could accept it"....Thanks to Mr. King's gruesome imagination, you as a reader feel the sharpness of those teeth.

The Wall Street Journal

Stephen King at his best...a wonderful story of courage, faith and hope...eminently engaging and difficult to put down.

USA Today

A delightful read, a literary walk in the woods...[T]he novel is less about baseball than about faith, perseverance and survival.

New York Daily News

Stephen King's new novel expertly stirs the major ingredients of the American psyche -- our spirituality, fierce love of children, passion for baseball and collective fear of the bad thing we know lurks on the periphery of life.

Library Journal

In a near-perfect characterization on King's part, we experience Trisha's fears, hopes, pains, hallucinations, and triumphs through her internal monolog, which is animated in this program by the voice of actress Anne Heche. She flawlessly conveys Trisha's youth and the spectrum of her emotional states. Recommended without reservation.

Reader Reviews

David Cuhnam ( Future Writer)

The Girl who loved Tom Gordon
This book is one of the many that Stephen king has written but it's not about evil clowns demented cars or psycopathic innkeepers it's about a little girl who gets lost in the woods. Now at the base of it I did not think the book was very ...   Read More

Carly Schulze, 13

More than an Amazing book...
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon really made me think about more than just Trisha McFarland being lost in the woods- it made me think about how hard it is for a 9 year-old to deal with her parents' divorce and her brothers negative attitude. She really ...   Read More

charlie

it was awesome, creepy and a great read!!!!

ryan

I really liked this book. I had to read a book for my language arts class and i chose this book because it was short and i really like Stephen King's books. The beginning was kind of boring, but after the fall down the waterfall, it got interesting, ...   Read More

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